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Local doctors are urging residents who smoke to get the help they need to quit smoking this World COPD Day, Wednesday 15 November.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) describes a group of serious lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because the airways have become narrow. This means that living with COPD can make it hard for people to do even simple, everyday tasks.

Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough' but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of COPD and other diseases. In Greenwich, help to stop smoking is available from: www.greenwichstopsmoking.org.uk

About 1.2 million people nationally are living with diagnosed COPD, making this the condition the second most common lung disease in the UK after asthma, and this number is growing.  Research from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) also shows that residents in Greenwich are more likely to be admitted to hospital and more likely to die from COPD than the average rates for the UK.

Dr Ellen Wright, a local GP and chair of NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Many of our residents have COPD and don't even know it. They're struggling with their symptoms and with a lower quality of life. Their condition is progressing quickly because they're not receiving treatment.

"This World COPD Day, let's raise awareness of COPD, find the missing millions and help people get the treatment and support they deserve."

To support World COPD day, residents can take the British Lung Foundation's online breath test. It can help them decide if it's time to see their GP.

If you've been diagnosed with COPD, the BLF passport will help you get the correct care.

Support groups for Londoners with COPD can be located at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathe-easy

World COPD day is organised by the British Lung Foundation.